You only live twice or so it seems
One life for yourself and one for your dreams
– Nancy Sinatra (You Only Live Twice, Bond Theme)
Teenagers everywhere are throwing out the term #YOLO before performing potentially life threatening actions, drinking an obscene amount, jumping from a roof that’s slightly too high, or a myriad of other things. I’ve personally used it quite a few times in situations that were perhaps not the best idea at the time, but some lessons you need to learn for yourself.
I’m a huge fan of the line from the bond theme “One for yourself and one for your dreams”. For myself, it absolutely has felt like some form of me died when I started to “wake up” to being aware. It was an incredibly surreal experience, to try to imagine why I believed the things I used to believe. To remember a situation from only months previous, and want to go and punch myself in the face for something I did. This is my universal trick for realizing my own growth. “Do I want to punch myself from three months ago? If yes, I’m still growing”.
Alright, so you’ve died to your old self that had their life set in auto-pilot, and now it’s time to live the one of your dreams. Pat yourself on the back, while it may take time to transition into it fully, you’ve started down a path the majority of the world will never reach. Allow yourself some time to celebrate.
I decided the me of today is about gaining mastery at whatever he tackles, in his workplace, personal hobbies, and anything else I decide to put my energy into. I refuse to allow any part of my life to become complacent or standard. The current me thrives on adventure and pleasure. I spent plenty of years living in my shell, and perhaps even this lifestyle will seem strange to me five years from now, but I give myself permission to decide the aspects of my life, even if they seem “greedy” or “self-centered”. Even if you start a particular journey from a place of resentment, or fear, you’re bound to auto-align towards a direction of love as the journey goes on. Don’t be afraid to start for “bad reasons”. It’s much riskier to have continued down the life that was handed to you, feel free to take whatever risks you want now.
HOT TIP: As I’ve warned previously, any kind of major change may give you push-back from friends, family or co-workers. If the old you would never go skydiving, but now you really want to see what it’s like, don’t let the ideas of others turn you off of it. If it sounds right for you, and you’ve put time into thinking about it, do it. If you didn’t put much thought into it, but you still want to do it, go for it anyways. As long as you’re still alive at the end of it, the other problems can be resolved relatively easily.
Where does the beauty of “you only die once” come from? Well to me, it means life goes on. Of course, some people will have more risk tolerance then others. Having a family of people depending on you may limit what risks you can take, but don’t use that as an excuse to live your life miserably, as it will build resentment and eventually your family will notice. If you’re able to risk everything and the worst case scenario is crashing on a friend’s couch for a few months until you get your feet back on the ground, that risk is a much smaller risk, then the risk of living safely for the next 60 years, and dying, never having lived.
The title comes from some of the final words of the infamous Casanova, it means “I can say, I have lived”. His memories in full span nearly 2000 pages, whether you would stand by his lifestyle or not, it’s hard to deny the truth behind them. That lifestyle may not make sense to you, but perhaps you do have something rather “extreme” or “risque” you’d like to try, but are scared to do so. How would you have felt at age 80? Would you be glad you stayed home instead, and no one judged you for it? Or would you instead be proud of yourself for attacking head on what you were passionate about, even if it seemed risky at the time?
Consider the perspective of you at age 80, imagine how they would judge whether you lived a successful life. Whether you just want to be a great parent, whether you want to travel to all ends of the earth, whether you just want to live peacefully on the country side, working remotely, just enough to make the money you need, we all have our own ways in which we define “living”. You may as well start today, take the smallest action towards “living” and let momentum take you the rest of the way. Even trying to live the life you’ve always wanted, is better then never having started.